Everything you wanted to know about digital painting

Maureen  

Technology is already part of most people’s everyday lives. With this, the arts and design segment receives more and more attention from companies. Digital painting is a technique that has become popular thanks to software such as Adobe Photoshop, Gimp and many others.

You are interested in arts and design, you hear about digital painting and you want to know what it is like to work with it? Then you have come to the right place! Digital painting is an art that has won the hearts of amateurs, artists and especially the market.

For this reason, it is a great option for young creative people who need to decide which career to pursue. And it was with this in mind that we have developed a complete guide with everything you want and need to know about digital painting and the main areas of expertise.

Were you curious about the possibility? Then follow the article and keep informed!

Graphic art

It is a manifestation of graphic art made exclusively through software, mainly Photoshop. This technique won the market and shot ahead of the traditional illustration for being much faster – not only to produce, but also to modify.

Moreover, digital painting provides more details and allows the art to be made with high quality and resolution, which facilitates its use in larger structures, such as printed banners.

Everything is possible through tools such as special brushes, application of ready textures, filters and with the appropriate use of layers that allow the correction at any stage of the work.

Flexibility is the main advantage attributed to digital painting. In this way, its art can be modified and manipulated freely, unlike traditional non-automated methods, in which a simple error can completely compromise the work.

Deviantart is a great channel for researching and finding examples of arts or even portfolios of many professionals in this field. Have you thought about creative and artistic design work? That’s right! To work creatively, you should be interested in various artistic manifestations such as photography, cinema, painting and the like. A graphic artist needs the most varied references to get started and also to keep updated.

It is not mandatory to know how to draw in a traditional way to become a graphic artist, but it is a recommended practice – so you do not become totally dependent on software.

This professional, therefore, can work with image processing and creation of pieces for printing and publishing on the web. It is possible to work in design offices, advertising and in the graphic industry in general, creating and dealing with everything from simple and commercial things to, for example, publishing, book covers and arts for card games.

It is also possible to work in the area of architecture and urbanism, in which the artist designs and organizes internal and external spaces, taking into consideration criteria of aesthetics and comfort.

You must have realized that this profession requires specific training, right? In the learning process, it is cool that the digital painting professional creates his own style, but for this it is necessary a lot of study and references.

Some graphic artists (not only beginners) try to reproduce the work of professionals they admire for the technique and the final result. This makes them build a creative memory that will help to create solutions for their authorial projects.

Another very important tip for those who are beginning their career is to elaborate a portfolio, even if only with arts created in the initial learning phase. In this way, the client who hires can analyze the whole production and the professional’s evolution.

Leaving aside the studies and thinking about the elaboration of projects, we will list the most recurrent step by step for the creation of a digital painting. See below:

  1. Planning
    The first step begins with the planning of your work, that is, you need to think about the project, define who will be the target audience of the art and what techniques and resources will be used.

Example: will the art be for exclusive use on the web or will it also be printed? What will be the resolution? Which techniques should I use? Just digital painting? Image editing? Will there also be vector elements?

It is possible that you need to use other software besides Photoshop to achieve the desired result – you may need a 3D modeling program or vectorization, like Illustrator.

  1. Search
    To guarantee the best possible result, it is essential to carry out research on techniques, software and possible themes for your art; in addition to seeking inspiration in existing works. But be very careful not to copy, as this can result in several problems for the artist and for you.

This step is important to define the style and have a more customer-friendly briefing. For this, it is common to use sites like Pinterest, besides Google images. The references do not need to be only about the theme that will be worked on, but it is interesting to look for references of the style you want to achieve.

  1. Sketch
    As in drawing and “analogue” painting, digital painting also has an initial sketch. Therefore, before leaving for the final illustration, create a sketch. This can save time and corrections.

Also, if possible, present the sketches to the client, specifying styles that show the selected references. This way you can deliver a work that best suits each person’s needs.

  1. Execution
    Try to define the general volumetry of the illustration before going into detail. Determine proportions, main elements and depth.

At this stage, it is important to develop what has been planned by applying the chosen brush and tool techniques. Try to work with layers that provide an easier change, if necessary. Remember to save different versions during execution.

To have more control over adjustments, at the end, use layers of colour, temperature, brightness and contrast corrections. Finally, make tests to have the final decision of your digital art, besides, of course, ask the client’s opinion about the result.

  1. Presentation
    In the final stage of the project presentation, try to simulate the application of digital art. The ideal is to have a good library of mockups for these simulations. It’s important to evaluate if you were able to pass on the message you wanted with the work you created, besides asking for feedback to improve your techniques.

“How important is colour theory?”

Just like in “analogue” painting, colour is very important in digital painting. And that is exactly why it is essential to study and master colour theory completely – since different shades are worked on to generate the result of painting.

It is through colours that the sensation of depth is created, the effects of light and shadows, and these factors are responsible for giving emotion to the work. To ensure a good result, it is important to use different shades and nuances in order to reinforce the story being told in art.

The colour palette should be chosen according to the purpose of the illustration: happier scenes combine with warm tones, while more serious scenes benefit from cold tones – which can be great alternatives to contextualise the image.

It’s worth remembering that to colour a certain object, it’s very important not to use just one colour. Always opt for at least three variations for a more realistic result. For a digital illustration to be considered really good, it is important to respect the basic elements of traditional painting.

That is, the composition, the light and shadow effects, the colours used and the depth are fundamental aspects to create a realistic work. Therefore, it is essential to use layers to apply all these details in your digital painting.

How to act professionally in this area?

If you are creative, like challenges and want to work with something you love, the first step is to invest in training courses. Seek extracurricular knowledge and keep an eye on news and trends in the areas of arts, creation and communication.

Practice always and continuously, and remember to compile your work into a portfolio to demonstrate your level of skill. If you intend to get work in large companies in the future, it is always worth insisting, renewing your portfolio and sending it back – even if you receive a negative response.

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The professional who chooses to work with digital paintings can count on good projections for the segment in Brazil. The game market, both for consoles and smartphones, is growing more and more, and Brazilian developers are investing in this possibility.

Another area that is growing is comics, in which illustrators and screenwriters are gaining more and more prominence. Companies need a unique and distinct image from their competitors, and that makes digital illustration professionals very sought after.

But what many still don’t know is that the professional who works with digital paintings can also act in the cinematographic market. This segment has more alternatives, such as the creation of storyboards – the artist creates the characters and sceneries used in animation.

The artist can also work with the development of animations, an area of the market that presents increasing demand. There are the traditional animations that are elaborated picture by picture and that require more knowledge.

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